A new academic study has found that Western Europeans, Africans, Latin Americans, Indians, and other global groups have distinct emailing habits. According to Bogdan State of Stanford University and several co-authors, different cultures use email differently. State’s group found that international email habits roughly correspond to the cultural groupings put forward in Samuel Huntington’s 1996 book The Clash of Civilizations. Using aggregate email data acquired from Yahoo, the research paper discovered that emails across national lines hew across religious, linguistic, and cultural lines rather than geography–for instance, British Yahoo users are more likely to email Australians than French contacts, and Orthodox-majority countries such as Russia, Greece, and Serbia all have higher-than-average email rates.
To conduct the study, Yahoo gave the research group access to data from 10 million emails (given with the consent of Yahoo users) that included the user’s profile, the location where they say they lived, and the geo-location of their IP address. However, State’s group found one important divergence from Huntington’s cultural groupings: Rather than there being one monolithic “Islamic world,” there were three distinct Muslim-majority cultural groups in North Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia with completely different email habits. Countries within the European Union were also less likely to email each other than with their old colonies abroad.